Innovation Heroes

TRANSCRIPT: How Hyfe is Using Acoustic Epidemiology to Transform the Healthcare System

March 1, 2022

Stacey  00:00

[Innovation Heroes theme music] This episode of Innovation Heroes is brought to you by SHI’s Recruitment team. Visit SHI.com/careers to learn more.

 

Ed  00:10

[Innovation Heroes theme music] Welcome to SHI's Innovation Heroes, a podcast exploring the people and businesses making a difference in our constantly disrupted world. I'm your host, Ed McNamara. [upbeat electronic music] Usually on these podcasts, we try to edit out things like coughs. Not today. [person coughs] Today, we celebrate the involuntary pulmonic spasm known as a cough because there's a lot of innovation happening these days around respiratory illnesses, and the cough might be the hidden variable, the secret ingredient, that's helping scientists, caregivers, and even app developers chart a path to a brighter future. For example, did you know there's a lot of hidden information that's transmitted in every single cough? The cough of a person suffering from TB has its own unique signature, [person coughs] and so does the cough of someone who has pneumonia. [person coughs] And yes, even COVID-19 has its own audio profile. [person coughs] Didn't hear the difference? There's a reason doctors spent so many years in medical school. It's their job to unlock the information from something as banal as a cough. To the untrained ear, it's hard to know what a specific cough is trying to tell you, and even if you can get in front of a doctor, forcing yourself to cough in their presence doesn't give them much information about the frequency of your cough, or if there are certain factors that make it worse or better. Your doctor can't follow you around, listening to you cough and taking notes all day, but there's a lot of data and information that could help them diagnose and figure out treatment plans, if that were somehow possible. [upbeat electronic music continues]

 

Iulian  01:45

It's not about having a new drug. It's about, with a patient, that we finally understand, because that person probably went and saw five doctors in the last five years, and they told them, "Look, I'm coughing all the time," and the doctor may have thought that she's exaggerating, may have thought that this is not a serious issue, but the truth is that if you cough 600 times a day, your quality of life's just not there.

 

Ed  02:09

[pensive music] Enter Hyfe, which bills itself as the world's most sophisticated acoustic AI. Hyfe is an app that's used daily by researchers, medical professionals, as well as thousands of regular people from all over the world. Powered by artificial intelligence and deep neural networks, it runs on any smartphone to identify coughs and other acoustic-based symptoms in real time. It pretty much is the answer to having a doctor in your pocket. To talk more about how this tech could change the world, I'm joined by Iulian Circo, the Co-Founder of Hyfe. He's led unique, action-packed operations in some of the world's most challenging environments and is also actively involved with several impact-minded ventures as co-founder, advisor, investor or board member. Iulian, welcome to Innovation Heroes.

 

Iulian  02:54

Thank you, Ed. It's a pleasure to be here.

 

Ed  02:57

Iulian, where are you joining us from today?

 

Iulian  02:59

I am based in Vienna, Austria.

 

Ed  03:01

And I understand that you're on the road, and it was a very interesting thing that you said when we first got on. You said that you're traveling, and, for this podcast, you were looking for a place with good acoustics, which is very interesting given what we're talking about today, right?

 

Iulian  03:16

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Acoustic is an important topic in my professional life.

 

Ed  03:21

So, with that segue, what's the elevator pitch of what Hyfe does?

 

Iulian  03:25

So Hyfe is the Fitbit for cough, and it runs on any smartphone, and it uses artificial intelligence to detect cough as it happens. The output is, basically, a precise timeline of your cough frequency, and eventually, we want it to be a Shazam for cough so that it will recognize disease signature in individual coughs, and help providers identify diseases before symptoms are present.

 

Ed  03:50

So Fitbit for cough, but also Shazam for cough. So when you use Shazam to identify a song, you don't turn Shazam on, and it says, "Well, that's music." It says, "This is this particular song," so not only is it frequency of cough, but it's actually what your cough is, the actual... I don't know. Is quality of cough a thing?

 

Iulian  04:10

Yeah. I mean, I guess the signature, the unique signature and, you know, like, diseases contains signature that is visible in several spectrums, you know? You can see it, you know, in chemical spectrums. You do a lab test, and you see the signature of the disease, right? That's what the blood work is all about. And, you can see it with imaging. I mean, an x-ray, MRI is just an image of what's going on there that contains signature. And, if you talk to any experienced clinician, they will tell you, "Oh, if I can listen to you cough, I can tell you a lot about what's going on there," right? And yet, no one's actually thought about quantifying it, or maybe people have thought about it, but it just wasn't easy until now, you know? And the funny thing is that, when cough in front of a pulmonologist, the pulmonologist will tell you about that cough, but usually you're coughing in a place where there's no clinician nearby, right? You cough at home, while you sleep, in front of your TV, and all of that's, you know, potentially super interesting information, but what you do have, when you're at home, when you're watching TV, there's a phone nearby, right? That's kind of our thing, and we insisted, from the beginning, to make this super convenient, right? 'Cause no one wants to do work to track any biomarker, right? So it just runs on the phone, and it detects your cough, and boom, and by doing that, we basically created a whole new category, which is, we refer to it as acoustic epidemiology because disease contains unique acoustic signature, and cough is just one way to detect them. [atmospheric electronic music] But, you could, in theory, apply the same model to so many other sounds, to sneezing, to snoring, to wheezing, and I'm super excited about this whole space, you know?

 

Ed  05:57

Yeah. I can see why. What diagnostic benefit does it have for the average patient, meaning, you know, what health challenges does it address, and how does it do it better than what we've already got? [atmospheric electronic music continues]

 

Iulian  06:09

There's a lot of people just suffer from coughing, right? Cough is just one of those things that is probably one of the most common symptoms, right? You have it in every single respiratory disease, but you have it also in a bunch of non-respiratory disease. And, at any given point, there are 10% of the adult population, they just cough, and they have no idea why, and often these people, they go and see a doctor. Their journey is amazingly similar, right? They go and see a doctor, and the doctor says, "Oh, you know, just get some tea," or you know, "Get some rest." There isn't really a thing that you can do for cough, right? This 10% of people, they are caught into an economic reality, which is the, you know, healthcare economics unfortunately works like this: if there's a treatment for it, there's a prescription, then the system just clicks, right? 'Cause everybody gets paid. The doctor can... You know, there's a code. They said, "Look, I gave them a prescription," and the pharmacist gets paid. Everyone gets paid across the system, but if there's no treatment, that means there is no real diagnostic, 'cause, you know, the healthcare economics just doesn't work without that. And, these people have a similar journey. They go see a doctor, and they go get another opinion and, at some point, they want to take things into their own hands, right? And they do that for two reasons. First of all, they just want to improve their condition, which is very important. Everybody wants that, right? I mean, if you're coughing 300, 400 times a day, your  quality of life's just not there. You can't go for dinner. You can't really have a conversation. If you're living in a pandemic, you know, you're going to Walmart and you're coughing in the checkout line, and everybody's freaking out, you know? It's just super difficult to live with that sort of cough. So people want to take things in their own hand and data just, it helps them a lot because, as you're trying to manage your condition, you're thinking, "Oh, maybe I should remove gluten out of my diet or something." Or, "Maybe I should..." You know, you're doing lifestyle changes, and you can see, because you're tracking your cough, you can see an immediate impact into how your cough frequency is changing, right? And that's super helpful because, you know, you're experimenting with things, and you're just learning what works for you. And the second reason why they love to do that is because now they can show the doctor, and doctors just love it because they have never been able to do this, just to look at data, to look at an objective longitudinal data about cough. And even more than that, to look at the way that their treatment correlates with that, and we have teams of clinicians who work with their patients using our app, or over long term, and they manage to customize the treatment. You get personalized treatment, and you could do that without even have to meet the team of clinicians because it's all online. It's on a smartphone. And you could have clinicians-- you know, if you live in a small town or in a village, you could get the same quality service. You get custom, personalized treatment that works for you just because, all of a sudden, you have cough frequency, and it's super exciting how much you can do with just this new source of data, you know, that didn't exist before.

 

Ed  09:21

You brought up a good point. Putting myself in the shoes of a medical practitioner who's having a conversation, you know, you might have five different people who could have very similar coughs, but they just describe them differently, and you've gotta interpret the words that they're saying and somehow factor that into your diagnosis, right? Like, this kind of eliminates that.

 

Iulian  09:41

Yeah, and that's been the gold standard. It's just the clinician asking you to-- and if I was to ask you now, Ed, "How many times did you cough yesterday? And was it more or less than the day before?" there's no way that you remember. There's just no way, and it's super powerful, and it's powerful at an individual level, but it's even more powerful at the community level, right? I don't know if you know this project in New York where they listen to gunshots in the city and, if you've heard about it, and the police, basically, doesn't wait for anyone to call them. They just see an increase in gunshots, they just go there. And, they monitor it over time, and that helps them staff the various sections in the city accordingly, right? So they have a really good understanding of actual violence rather than reported violence in the city. And, you could do the same with public health, right? Like, if you think about a university, for example, or, you know, a campus, an airport, a shopping mall, a cinema, an office building, and you know a lot of the variables that go in there, how many people, how long they stay, and so on, and you can define a baseline for cough frequency, aggregated cough frequency in that building, right? Like, and in any hour, you have a median of 300 coughs, whatever, and you define that baseline, and then, at some point, you see an increase, a deviation from that baseline, right? Think of it like a heat map. You can have like a map of this building, and you have a heatmap, and during a pandemic, that's almost certainly an indication there's an outbreak in that area, right? And you can react immediately. You don't have to wait for tests to come back, and you can do it in a way that doesn't infringe on people's... You don't have to stop people and say, "You must do a test now," or, "You must show...", you know? There's just like an instant ability that you can act on this data without having to create these weird things that people are uncomfortable about these days, you know? [atmospheric electronic music continues]

 

Ed  11:43

Absolutely. So, to your point, there's a lot of folks in our audience really love to hear the speeds-and-feeds statistics of things. So how does the app and the tech actually work on a technical level?

 

Iulian  11:56

All right, so our product is, basically, a machine-learning model and, relevantly for machine-learning model, it is built on the world's largest dataset of coughs, and I'm happy to talk about how we got to be the owners of the world's largest dataset of coughs, and coughs and cough-like sounds I should say, because the false positives are as important as the true positives when you build machine-learning models.

 

Ed  12:23

I mean, you've gotta get in the Guinness Book of World Records for that. So, just because, if you have the potential to do that, right? [laughs]

 

Iulian  12:28

Yeah, yeah. So, our dataset currently, Ed, has more than 140 million samples of sound, which is basically sounds that are structured very similarly with coughs. A lot of them are coughs, but a lot of them are false positive. They sound like coughs, but they're not coughs, and we're struggling to label all of that because, you know, labeling-- like, the dataset grows exponentially just because we get a lot of traction, but the labeling can only happen linearly. You have to have people listening to every sound and say, "Cough, non-cough." And, that's super slow, you know? It's basically our biggest bottleneck. So, our product's basically this machine-learning model, and we designed it. It's, you know, the performance, incredible. Like, I'm telling you, honestly, it's really hard to justify improving the performance any further, you know, 'cause it's just like, our probability of detecting a cough from a sound on a basic device, without any kind of special microphones or anything, is 98% or something. You know, achieving that 2% difference is almost not worth it because, if you're looking at cough, longitudinally, if you miss one here and you have a false positive there, it doesn't really matter. In clinical environment, it's different and, you know, that's why we're doing the improvement, but the model basically runs on any smart device, and that's kind of how we designed. We don't want to be a device company. We don't wanna be an app company. You have a smart device, it has a microphone? Boom. We can make it work, and that's because I believe that convenience is super important when you build models like this. You know, it can't be-- the interface has to be smooth, you know, and smartphone's just the most obvious device because everybody has one and it runs on it, but you know, we have a wearable that we've built that we're using clinical trials. We're working with partners to integrate into existing kind of smart devices, and the way it works is there's a first phase, which is just detecting the sound, and it works like that smart speaker that has a woman's name that we should not mention in a podcast [Ed laughs] but when you say that name, it activates, right? And, the way our model works is when there is a sound that has the structure of a cough, it activates, and what it does is it does that initial processing on the phone - and this is important- and also because we need to talk about privacy and stuff, so it does that initial detection on the phone. It chops the peak of that sound, right? If you think about a sound like a spectrogram, there's a peak, and it just chops that peak, which is maximum half a second, and then that peak gets then processed on the cloud against our super powerful models, and the output gets sent back to the device and it's one or zero, cough, non-cough, right? And, that's really all there is to it, and, you know, I mean, we could do the whole processing on the phone, but that would have a cost in battery life, and people just hate when they have an app on the phone that just drains their battery, and so there needs to be a compromise between, you know, like, performance and battery life, you know? So yeah, it runs on any smart device, it detects coughs in real time, and it runs in the background, so once you turn it on, you don't have to worry about. It just shows just like the Fitbit. Once it's on, it just shows you steps, you know?

 

Stacey  15:04

[upbeat music] Hi, I’m Stacey Terranova, and I’m SHI’s Director of Talent Acquisition. SHI isn’t just a great place to get all of your organization’s technology needs met: It’s also a great place to work. We’ve been hiring non-stop for over 30 straight years – with 5,000 employees now proudly contributing to our growth. We are the largest woman and minority owned business enterprise in the US. Listed in Forbes for Best Employers for Diversity in 2019 and America's Largest Private Companies in 2018, we are consistently hiring great candidates for roles at all levels. We’re still expanding globally, and we still need the right people to make that happen. Whether you’re just getting started in the tech industry, or if you’re a seasoned IT pro looking for your next big opportunity – we invite you to check out SHI.com/careers to see our latest list of job openings. We’d love to have you join the team.

 

Ed  16:11

[gentle electronic music] I don't know about you, but I'm downloading Hyfe right now. I need to see exactly how many times a day I'm coughing without even realizing. I'm so glad we have an expert like Iulian Circo to explain how the app he's co-founded can make an impact at the individual, as well as the community, level. But, I'm also curious about how Hyfe could change the future of the healthcare system on a more fundamental level, beyond it's amazing use cases for specific symptoms. [gentle electronic music continues] Iulian, throughout history, you know, any time new technology like this is introduced, it either, you know, displaces someone's expertise or makes it, you know, maybe no longer relevant, you know? Have you received pushback from traditional medical practitioners about this? Or have they embraced it?

 

Iulian  18:02

Yeah, I mean, we received healthy skepticism, which I welcome, to be honest, because I think it's on us to validate what we're doing. It's on us to prove that what we're doing works. I think that, you know, healthcare professionals have a healthy skepticism, just, like, by temperament, which I think, in the long term, is a good thing. I mean, any good scientist is a bit skeptical, and they should be. You know, I mean, that's how science progresses, but the industry, in itself, is actually really funny. I don't know if you-- like, there's this expression I've heard recently, and I just love how it reflects, how it kind of describes the state of healthcare, and it says that, "We have medicine from Star Wars and healthcare from the Flintstones." [Ed laughs] The backend, the science and the medicine's amazing, but at the front end, Ed, you have to call a number and say, "My name is Ed, and, you know, I must come see a doctor," and they say, "Come next Tuesday," then you go there on Tuesday. "What's your name?" "Ed." It's that you're giving the same information. It's just incredible that, in this day and age, I mean, I'm doing so many things online. I do my shopping. I do my, you know, my banking. I do-- you know, there's just like-- I order food, and then, my healthcare is just like it was in the '70s, right? And, you know, it goes all the way. Like, once I've dealt with the interface, and I've done that just to see a doctor for five minutes, and then they send me to a laboratory? That could have been, basically, three taps on the phone, but on the backend, then there's a really smart computer that, basically, sends a fax to the pharmacy with my prescription, right? The fax machine is healthy, is alive and kicking in healthcare, and it's such a conservative, such a slow industry to adopt change, but I see that as an opportunity. To be honest, I love that, because you can only go up from here. You know what I mean? Like, we are rock bottom in terms of innovation there, and there's already a few things happening at the same time, and it's going to happen, and the pandemic, ironically, is accelerating this change because, all of a sudden, we have to deliver healthcare while social distancing. We have to do it virtually, and that's just accelerating this change, you know? So yeah, I mean, there is pushback from the industry, you know? I mean, I should also say that we're trying to apply regulatory principles that were designed for, you know, physical devices and, you know, chemical things, and we apply them to software. They just, they don't work 100%, you know? So yeah, it's a conservative industry, but it's ready to be disruptive, and no single company will do that disruption, but we'll do our part, you know? And I'm super happy to be on the frontlines of this change, you know, with our company.

 

Ed  20:57

I think you said earlier that you have 140 million samples of sounds. I think you-- I read that you have 70,000+ end users?

 

Iulian  21:06

Yeah, yeah. That's just the consumers, on the consumer side. I should say that we have a consumer product which is free and will forever be free, and there is no strings attached, so that we don't sell advertising, we don't sell data, we don't... And, because we're category leaders, we're basically establishing this category of cough frequency tracking, we need to know how this category works, right? Like, if you're launching a SaaS product, there's a playbook. "You need to do it like this." And, you know, "This is your pricing strategy." With what we're doing, there's no real-- you know, we can't really compare it with... A playbook's just not there, so we have to figure out this playbook, and the cost of figuring out the playbook is to just be committed to create value for free, right? And that's valuable to us because once we know why people track their cough-- I mean, we're learning so much, Ed, about, you know, the lady with the 600 coughs, that there's so many people that track their coughs, and we learn from them why they're doing it, what's going on their lives that makes cough such an important part of it. What would they like to see when they track the cough? How do they want to see that cough? And do they want to add additional features? Do they want to take notes in the thing? That's all so important because it helps us establish the boundaries of this new category, right? And then, that converts very well in products that work in clinical trials, and that work in setups of, kind of, clinical, remote-patient monitoring, which is where we make our money, you know? So yeah, we have about 70,000 unique users in the consumer app, and that's without having done any marketing ever, basically. It's just organic.

 

Ed  22:48

That's incredible. I mean, it's also a massive amount of data, right?

 

Iulian  22:52

[chuckling] Yeah.

 

Ed  22:52

So, I mean, is that a challenge for you?

 

Iulian  22:55

Yeah. Definitely a challenge. Definitely a challenge.

 

Ed  22:58

But, that data, I mean, we know that data's very valuable. I mean, is that available for clinical research? I think you might have started touching on that. Or do you own it? Or, like, how does it-- what's the thought around that?

 

Iulian  23:10

So we have several datasets, right? The consumer dataset, you know, wouldn't be available unless the users opted in into our research. We have a research clause in our terms and conditions, which is opt in. You have to actually read it and opt in, and I'm telling you, a lot of people opt in into that, which is interesting, because a lot of-- you know, it's also a sign that we're doing something right in terms of segmentation, right? Like, if you have an app-- and this probably applies beyond our category, right? If you have an app that has a broad appeal, and a lot of people download, that may be great, but what you're missing out on is to create a lot of value for a very specific segment of people, you know? And, we're different. We think that most people don't get any value out of our app, and that's fine. We have some edge cases which are super interesting, you know, people who worry about pollution and people who worry, but mostly, if you're not coughing a lot, then maybe you don't get any value out of it. But, if you do cough a lot, then your state of mind is very different, and that state of mind makes you also interested in participating in research because, you know, you see that you could add value to discovering what's wrong with you when you're coughing, you know? [atmospheric electronic music] And, the research clause, a lot of people opt in into it, and then, yes, then we can use the data for research, and we can share it with our clinical partners who can reach out to you and things like this. But, it's all done just with a lot of focus on consent and transparency.

 

Ed  24:45

In our hyperconnected, data-is-currency world, you know, privacy is a leading concern, so what are some of the things you guys are thinking about to keep your data secure? Is it just that consent, or is it more than that?

 

Iulian  24:57

Yeah, I mean, I think that this is one of the hardest problems we have in tech today, and, in particular, in AI, right? And, you know, I mean, there's a continuous tension between, like, impact, or accuracy, and privacy, and, you know, I mean, this problem's made a lot worse by the fact that we're at the tail end of an era where it's just like, we've gotten used with a business model that's just super sketchy, right? You know, you're giving away all this data in ways that you don't fully understand so that someone can sell you something. That's like the internet's original sin, right? No one pays for anything, but everybody's data gets sold to everybody. You know, it's terrible. I hate it, and, you know, I'm a parent. I have a teenager. I have a teenage child, and I just hate it, and, in my personal life, I'm very focused on privacy. I'm very aware of what's going on. I'm someone who uses encryption and stuff, so, you know, I don't like this model, and I don't want my business to have any part in that business model, right? But, at the same time, we're building-- you know, I think that the impact of personalized healthcare can be huge, right? Like, you know, I want personalized healthcare for myself. I want it for my children. And how do we do this? And, you know, I don't really have an answer, but it's just something that's always front of mind and, as a team, it's something that we discuss all the time, right? And, you know, in terms of how we practically deal with this with our app is, first of all, consent, information, transparency, but then you have the problem that people don't actually read that, right? So what we're trying to do is we're trying to build our tech in such a way that all of the stuff that could be of concern happens on your device, and not on our servers, you know? We're trying to experiment with encryption so that it stays on the device, the key's on your device, it gets processed, but no one can have access to that. And, eventually, we'll just do everything on device, but I would love to hear... You know, I mean, this is something that I'm super interested in, you know? How do we solve this as a tech community, as entrepreneurs, as innovators? How do we turn it around? Because we've given away our privacy for like that extra click, and that whole extra thing and, honestly, we're not getting a good deal out of it, to be honest, you know?

 

Ed  27:25

Changing it up a little bit, I saw that you have a history of participating in, you know, dozens of humanitarian missions, as well as, you know, building and running country operations for global relief organizations in places like Somalia and Mozambique, right? You know, it's pretty well documented the challenge that any aid organization has in getting doctors, and equipment, and medicine, you know, to some far-reaching places. I mean, I guess, you know, in terms of, like, early detection, you know, this is really going to-- you know, Hyfe is really going to help with that, in some regards. Some of your, you know, humanitarian missions, that must have been, you know, part of the inspiration for this.

 

Iulian  28:02

For sure. I mean, my kind of early career, which, you know, is most of my life, basically, I worked in this sort of fringe, extreme type environments, and it definitely shaped how I think about technology, right? And, I love it and, you know, I'm not a technologist by-- I'm kind of a reluctant technologist. Like, I'm not an engineer, but I'm someone who's just been shaped by seeing how technology is like this huge equalizer, you know? And, this is the original idea, isn't it? Like before this original sin came in, where we just gave away our privacy... I'm that generation. We were just talking about music before we started recording. We're the same generation, right? Like, when it all started, I was so inspired by this idea of, you know, the internet's the big equalizer, and I didn't abandon it completely, you know? And I think that, if you look at healthcare, just to keep it practical, if you look at healthcare statistics, and these statistics apply anywhere in the world - they apply in Somalia as much they apply in downtown New Jersey - is that the biggest factor is access to healthcare and access to healthcare is a function of access to diagnostics, right? So, you know, if you know that you're sick, you're going to do something about it, and people live in places where diagnostics is either far away, or it's expensive, or its both - it's far away and expensive, and that's why you have children under five dying of pneumonia, you know, which is curable, and the cure for it is cheap and stuff. If they'd have diagnostics, you know, it'd be easy, right? Now, imagine that you could have any smartphone in this world converted into a laboratory. You just get a diagnostic, and the diagnostic is just as good in Bangalore, or in Bihar, as it is, you know, in New England, right? You get the same quality diagnostic, you get it instant, and then,  when you get diagnostic, you get your treatment customized to your reality, and imagine the impact of that, and it would cost nothing. It just really wouldn't cost anything. You could make this available to everyone for, like, a few cents or even for free. There's probably business models that you can make this available for free, you know, so I'm so excited about that, and, you know, I'd love to do my part in that becoming a reality, you know?

 

Ed  30:31

I guess my last question-- well, I always say that, then I ask more, so I shouldn't say that-- [laughs] but what's the biggest thing standing in the way of you guys finding the success you're looking for?

 

Iulian  30:43

I mean, look. I have a few things to grumble, you know, that have to do with the wider industry, and with the state of the technology, and the mistrust that people have in the thing but, overall, I'm like a huge optimist, you know? Like, I am so excited. I mean, I think this is gonna happen, 100%. My whole thesis is that it will happen, and I don't have the delusion that we're gonna cause this to happen. It's not us, you know? But, what we're doing is we're ahead of-- we're basically surfing this big wave that's building behind us, and it's building because it's time. The technology is mature, the infrastructure's ready, the penetration's there, the understanding and, you know, just like the science is mature. We know how AI works. We know what the potential is. The data is easier to generate. We already have enough longitudinal data to actually build powerful models, and now, it's just gonna have to happen, and we need to make sure that we're alert so that we play an important role in this as a company and, you know, as a team. And yeah, I mean, we grumble along the way. The regulation's, you know, outdated. The industries do this. We don't have enough money. We can't find talent. Everybody has those problems in in startups, but I've built a number of startups already, and this one's the one that I just, I really feel great about, and actually, you know, if I'd started grumbling, I'd feel bad that I shouldn't actually grumble, you know, 'cause all the typical problems that I had in other startups and other startups, we don't really have them, you know? We have a great team. We have enough money, too. You know, our runway is great. We have clients that love what we're doing. They're excited. We have partners that are willing to co-create and experiment with us to take the risk to partner with what is a pretty out-there technology, you know? So, you know, honestly, I'd be dishonest to grumble about anything, to be honest, you know? [gentle electronic music]

 

Ed  32:38

You paint a really positive message, so I think you're entitled to a little grumbling if you want to, but I also think that, hearing you talk, you know, just from an outsider's perspective, 70,000 people signed up without any marketing or advertising 'cause it just, it makes sense what you're doing, and people usually follow things that, like, this is one of those things to me, I'm like, "Why wasn't this thought of before?" you know? It's, you know, kudos to you guys for doing that. So, Iulian Circo, Co-Founder of Hyfe, I  just wanted to say, you know, thanks for the great work you're doing, and thanks for the time you took to join us today and tell us about it. We appreciate it.

 

Iulian  33:09

Thanks for having me, Ed. This was a lot of fun. [gentle electronic music continues]

 

Ed  33:14

The healthcare system is ripe for change, and I'm so thankful that there's people like Iulian Circo and his team at Hyfe to help lead the charge. It won't be an immediate shift, by any means, nor should it be. We need to make sure that the tech integrations we're utilizing are also protecting people's data. It's crucial that, while we enable patients to take more control of their own care, we do it in a way that supports the work doctors and other professionals are already doing, rather than hinders it. I can't wait to see how the amazing Shazam for coughs will continue to push the industry forward and the better, more tech-enabled, and equitable world that we could end up with as a result. [Innovation Heroes theme music]  Thanks for listening to this episode of Innovation Heroes. Next time on the podcast, I'll finally solve a mystery that's been bugging me for months. What the heck is blockchain? Why do I keep hearing about it in the enterprise space? And, what does it actually mean for the future of our industry? Medha Parlikar is the CTO and Co-Founder of Casper Labs, the first blockchain built for enterprise adoption, so you could say she's exactly the right person to school me on how this tech is changing the world. So, tune in in two weeks. You won't wanna miss it. [Innovation Heroes theme music] If you enjoyed this episode, then consider being our hero. Smash that like and subscribe button to Innovation Heroes, wherever you get your podcasts. Innovation Heroes is a Pilgrim Content production in collaboration with SHI. Our producers are Tobin Dalrymple and Jessica Schmidt, with production assistance from Carmi Levy, Ronny Latimore, Jane Norman, Amanda Scheffer-Cavanagh and Ryan Wetter. I'm your host, Ed McNamara, and I'll be back with another amazing story in two weeks.

 

Stacey  32:45

This episode of Innovation Heroes is brought to you by the Recruitment team at SHI. Learn more at SHI.com/careers.

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